Social workers give families a more peaceful place for goodbyes

Peggy Seidl and Janine Johns Shaffer

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It’s a room no one wants to visit, but for those who do, it’s now a more calming, peaceful place.

Following a very tough conversation with a grieving family last year, Cox Medical Center Branson Emergency Room Social Worker Peggy Seidl decided it was time to make improvements to the bereavement room.

“This area provides a place for families to say their final goodbye in a private, quiet place,” Seidl explained.

But, at the time, the room, which is located just off the emergency department waiting area, wasn’t calming and peaceful.

Seidl spoke to Social Work Manager Janine Johns-Shaffer and they decided to apply to Skaggs Foundation’s Employee Funding Request program. The foundation’s Employee Funding Request program is a small grant making program open to Cox Medical Center Branson employees for projects benefitting Cox Medical Center Branson patients and employees. The funds are made possible by CoxHealth employees who support Skaggs Foundation through payroll giving.

Seidl’s project was approved and soon after improvements began.

The carpet was removed and replaced with beautiful hardwood and the walls painted a warmer, more inviting color. The team replaced some of the furniture with more cozy and functional pieces. The final items on their list to do includes adding art to the walls and incorporating activities for children.

“There’s a lot of difficult conversations that happen in here,” Seidl said. “We are grateful to have a space to have those conversations that is now peaceful and calming. We now have a beautiful space.”

Shaffer said they dedicate the room to all of the families it will serve.

“This is our small way of making a difference,” she added.

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